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The Oredigger Issue 18 - March 3, 2014

The Oredigger Issue 18 - March 3, 2014

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The Oredigger, Volume 94, Issue 18
The Oredigger, Volume 94, Issue 18

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Published by: The Oredigger on Mar 03, 2014
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 Volume 94, Issue 18March 3, 2014
 The student voice of the Colorado School of Mines
 w w w . O R E D I G G E R . n e t
Sports 7Opinion 8Features 4News 2
The closing ceremony marks the end of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.Hope Sisley
Staff Writer 
Professional engineer Bill Edger-ton of Jacobs Associates came to the only student chapter of the Un-derground Construction Association (UCA) in the country to talk about the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) tunnel project in Washington, DC. Edgerton is a principal on the D.C. Clean Rivers Project, of which the CSO is a part, and the chair of the UCA.  The Clean Rivers Project is a multi-billion-dollar endeavour, pro- jected to run until 2025, to stop
sewer overflow during storms from going into the three rivers that flow
through the D.C. area, which is the current destination for sewer over-
flow for a third of the region. It will also help mitigate extreme flooding
from even relatively minor storm events. The slowest-moving of the rivers concerned, the Anacostia, is
being tackled first. Four major CSO
tunnels are being constructed, at a cost of $3.5 billion, to tie into and
divert storm overflow from the city’s
sewers. The longest of these, the twenty-seven-thousand-foot-long Northeast Boundary Tunnel, is still in design. Before construction can begin, an environmental impact assessment must be done. This involves more than just “environ-
mental” impacts: the effects of the
project on traffic, pollution, and even the local archaeology must be considered. As a result of such an assessment, a smaller tunnel now under construction (and the
Constructing new tunnels in D.C.
shortest of the four at only 2700 feet
long), the First Street NW Tunnel, is being constructed using a different
method from the other three since it is located in a residential area and the equipment used for the conventional construction method was considered too disruptive for the residents. The twelve-thousand-foot-long Anacostia River tunnel crosses directly underneath the presidential helicopter hangar, so its environmental impacts are also of prime importance - especially potential subsidence, which can damage surface structures.
 The majority of Edgerton’s talk,
however, focused on the Blue Plains  Tunnel, which is planned to be twen-ty-three feet across and twenty-three thousand feet long, and which is the closest to completion of the
four CSO tunnels. In order to dig this
monumental construction, a mas-sive tunnel boring machine (named Lady Bird after President Lyndon
Johnson’s wife) was brought in, weighing over seventy-five thou-
sand tons. Two massive shafts built by the river to screen and de-water
the overflow serve as the launch
point for Lady Bird; once the shafts were completed, a special crane lowered the boring machine into the hole and set it on its way.Edgerton discussed two parts of the construction process: the build-ing of the shafts and the preserva-
tion of existing structures affected by the Blue Plains CSO, specifically a football-field-sized sewer pump-
ing station that has been operating since 1900 and several of the sta-
tion’s contemporary sewers, which
are of historical as well as practical
significance. Because the turn-of-
the-century sewers cannot be re-
placed or shut off, damage to them
would have been near catastrophic. The two shafts - a hundred-foot-diameter pump shaft and a somewhat smaller screening shaft - were originally designed to be separate, connected by a small tun-nel. The client, however, preferred a
different design, in which the shafts
abutted each other, sharing a wall. While this removed the need for the small tunnel, it posed a suite of new problems, as the stresses on two
isolated round shafts are quite differ-
ent from those acting upon adjoining shafts. The method of construc-tion also changed so that special  Y-shaped cement panels must be designed for the shaft junction. A two-hundred-foot-deep trench was
dug for the panels, then fifty-foot
segments of rebar lowered into the
hole and connected, and, finally,
after a network of pipes was placed, a concrete slurry was pumped into the space. The resulting cement sections abut each other but have no true joint so it is essential that the
design be perfect. For instance, the “slurry panels” must sit exactly flat
on the ground or the structure will
not hold. After the shaft’s comple-
tion, it was discovered that one of the panels did not sit properly. As it could not be re-set, the engineers had to reexamine the stresses, and they determined that stronger concrete would have to be used in the panel to compensate the error.  A miscommunication caused the cement plant to send a weaker concrete mix instead, which was disastrous. After much testing and analysis, the project engineers de-termined that the weak panel would
be just barely suffi cient, necessitat-
ing the installation of considerable monitoring equipment so that any failure of the shaft due to this panel could be detected and mitigated.Other factors interfered with construction of the shaft. During the pouring of another one of the wall panels, the slurry contaminated the panel cement at the very bottom of the shaft, requiring the entire panel to be re-done; this set the project back several months. Also, the wet conditions in Washington DC meant
that the shafts often filled with water.
Rather than pump the water out, Jacobs Associates decided to work with the conditions. When the shaft
was flooded, the rebar cages were
set by divers, and the slurry could still be poured normally. By not de-watering, the engineers reduced
possible ground modification from
removal of the water from the sur-rounding soil, and they also reduced potential exterior pressures on the
shaft, since the water equalized
the pressure inside and out. But to remove it would have meant the water would be pressing in without anything to push against it. The second engineering problem
that affected the project was that
of the existing historic structures,
specifically the sewers.
Continued at
 on page 3
Student research projects on display at CEERDepression Quest depressing excuse for video game
Wrestlers fight
hard but fall to Grand State
Minds at Mines asks students favorite movies
n e w s
march , page 
 w w w . O R E D I G G E R . n e t
Oredigger Staff 
Deborah Good
Emily McNair 
Managing Editor 
Taylor Polodna
Design Edito
Connor McDonald
Lucy Orsi
Business Manager 
Arnaud Filliat
Copy Editor 
Katerina Gonzales
Content Manager 
Jared Riemer 
Content Manager 
Karen Gilbert
Faculty Advisor 
Headlines from around the world
Local News
 The Colorado State Fair will not continue to use the cash-free system implemented last year. Last year, fair attendees used pre-loaded cards to purchase snacks and tickets to shows at the fairgrounds. The vendor of the cards earned about $60,000 by charging $1 per card in fees.  This year, the proposed agree-ment would increase the com-pany’s earnings to $200,000.
Offi cials want to decrease the
costs to attendees this year.Canon City Police report that
humans caused the fire that se-
verely damaged the Royal Gorge
Bridge and Park. The fire burned
more than 3000 acres and de-stroyed most of the structures within the park. However, no homes were burned and no one was injured. The city and the Royal Gorge Bridge Company of Colorado are rebuilding the park. Voting for the Mayor of Di-vide has begun. This year’s can-didates include a 35-year-old donkey named Herbie, a hedge-hog named Blackberry, a wolf named Nakai, and many other animals. The current mayor of Divide, Walter, the three-legged cat, was elected in 2012. Votes cost $1 and all proceeds sup-port the Teller County Regional  Animal Shelter. The weekend’s snow caused
mass pileups along a five mile
stretch of I-25 in Denver. Den-ver Police say that 104 vehicles were involved and caused the interstate to shut down. The largest of the pileups involved 45 vehicles. Investigators believe that poor visibility and icy roads contributed to the collisions.
Ramiro Rodriguez
, Staff Writer 
Ramiro Rodriguez
, Staff Writer 
Jack Hills, Australia
 - A piece of zircon discovered in an outcrop on a sheep farm in Western Australia has been discovered to be the oldest unchanging piece of earth discovered, at an age of 4.4 billion years. John  Valley, the geoscience professor from the University of Wisconsin who led the research, claims that this could imply that the planet was capable of sustaining earth 4.3 billion years ago where the earliest fossils are 3.4 billion years old, implying life-sustaining temperatures earlier than previously thought. A federal judge in San Anto-nio has ruled that
Texas’s ban on same-sex marriage
 and its refusal to recognize the validity of out-of-state same-sex mar-riages are unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia writes in his ruling, “Regulation of marriage has traditionally been the province of the states and remains so today, However, any state law involving marriage or any other protected interest must comply with the United States Constitution. “ The two bans will,
however, remain in effect for the
time being as the judge has is-sued a stay until the issue is re-solved by a higher court.  A document released re-cently by Edward Snowden has revealed that the Government Communications Headquarters, a British intelligence agency, has a group known as the
Joint Threat Research In-telligence Group.
 This infil-
trated numerous groups online with the intent to inject false in-formation to destroy the repu-tation of its targets as well as manipulated online discourse through negative information,
false flag operations, and fake
victim blog posts.
The ACLU is filing suit
against the Haralson Coun-ty school district in Geor-gia
 over the firing of Johnny
Cook who refused to issue an apology for statements on his Facebook account where he commented on a student be-ing refused lunch because the student did not have the forty cents needed for a reduced price lunch. The day after making the comment, Cook was given an ultimatum of apologizing and receiving a two-week suspension or having his employment termi-nated. Davi Barker, co-founder of
BitcoinsNotBombs, a Bitcoin advocacy group
 that aids dona-tion-based groups in being able to use the crypto-currency, was confronted by the TSA because they needed to check his bag be-cause they ‘found’ Bitcoin in his bag. While the currency is com-pletely digital, Barker was wear-ing promotional material for his group at the time and had lapel pins that he sells at conferences. It is unclear as of yet the reason for the stop, as while it is illegal to travel internationally from the US with large amounts of money,
Barker’s flight was within the con-
tinental US.
The Food and Drug Admin-istration is proposing major changes to nutritional labels on food labels
that aims to put calorie count in large type and adjusts portion sizes to better re-
flect the actual amount of foods
 Americans eat. The proposal also adds a line to nutritional labels that will point out the amount of manufactured sugar added to a food item in addition to total sugar as opposed to the cur-rent label which only has total sugar. The proposal is centered around the fact that portion sizes in the US have changed dramati-cally since the 1970’s and 1980’s which is from when most of the serving sizes on food labels are based on.
Heidelberg , Germany 
 - A team led by Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg has found a more accurate measurement for the weight of the electron, one of the most basic building blocks of matter. This was accomplished by weighing a single atom of carbon that was trapped inside of a Penning trap. The estimate of 0.000548579909067 atomic mass units is thir-teen times more accurate than previous measurements.
Copenhagen, Denmark
 - Despite Gardasil, the vaccine against the hu-man papillomavirus, having only been in the Danish vaccination program for the past six years, a study has found a reduction of 40 to 80 percent reduc-tion in incidents of cervical precursor lesions in vaccinated women compared to non-vaccinated women. Professor Susanne Krüger Kjær, MD, of the Dan-ish Cancer Society and the Copenhagen University Hospital says, “The spe-cial thing about Denmark in this context is that we were very quick to imple-ment the HPV vaccine nationwide. This is why we have managed to carry
out such a comprehensive study of the effect of the HPV vaccine so soon”.
Chicago, IL
 - Female night owls are have been found to have corti-sone levels and propensity towards risk taking more similar to male night owls than other women. Being a night owl has been associated in men previously with extraversion, higher risk taking, as well as a high-er number of sexual partners, and this study links the same for wom-en. This study furthers the idea that eveningness developed in humans recently in human evolution to ad-vance a short term mating strategy.
Scientific discoveries this week
n e w s
february , page 3
 w w w . O R E D I G G E R . n e t
Hope Sisley
Staff Writer 
Continued from page 1
Where buildings were potentially endangered by ground movement caused by the CSO tunnel’s con-struction, ground cores were taken
and structural profiles of the sub-surface made in order to assess the strength of the soil. In one place, a
brick-and-concrete masonry sewer over a hundred years old sat only
seven feet away from the planned tunnel route. Lab tests of the soil
parameters were plugged into a model to predict possible ground subsidence or displacement where
the sewer lay. The wall of the sewer was cored and the actual effective strength of the old materials as-sessed. The result was that, if there were no mitigation efforts made, the
damage to the sewer caused by
the tunnel would be irreparable. To
prevent a catastrophe, stronger soil was packed in around the sewer to
replace the existing weak fill; this is called “ground improvement”. The
cost was nearly $800,000, but it pre-vented damage to the sewer, which
would have incurred far worse costs. Another sewer from the same era was at similar risks. This one was
larger and had been designed to ac-
commodate wet-weather overflow, much like the modern CSO will do.
UC&T continued
Engineers went into the sewer during
dry weather and found large cracks
already present in the walls, even
tree roots breaking through. It was
clear that the subsidence caused by the tunnel would destroy this sewer, so “steel sets” were brought in to stabilize the walls: bolted-in rebar
ribs to keep the sewer from collaps-ing. These had to be carried in by
hand through a manhole, which was
the only access to the sewer. As the cracks will probably widen in spite of the steel sets, after the CSO tunnel’s
construction is complete, the con-tractor will go into the old sewer and
repair the walls permanently.Edgerton brought up a final point:
a phenomenon known as “conser-
vatism” in engineering design. The faulty slurry panel which was found
to pass the bill with weak concrete
had been designed to withstand far
greater stresses than it will likely en-
counter. An engineer is always under
pressure to make things extra-stur-
dy since a failure will be blamed on her design. A contractor, however,
is under pressure to save time and materials, since the client wants to
spend as little as possible. Every
project is an interplay between these
opposing forces. Ideally a happy medium will be found, allowing the
client to save cost while still receiving a quality project which, like the his-
toric sewers of DC, will last for many years to come.From biofuels to mineral ex-ploration, the Conference on
Earth and Energy Research (CEER) brought together great minds and scientists, current and
future, at Mines. The Graduation Student Association of CSM did a great job of displaying great re-
search while empowering energy
and earth scientists after hearing the keynote lectures.U.S. Senator Ken Salazar opened up the conference by
giving his keynote lecture titled,
“Toward North American Energy Independence.” Salazar is former Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior and started off by speaking of his experience of dealing with the Deep Water Ho-rizon crisis in 2010. Salazar also reflected on a conversation with
President Obama in which Sala-zar pointed out the turn that the
U.S. has made in going towards
Katerina Gonzales
Content Manager 
Tying future and policy
energy independence: in 2005,
the U.S. was importing 60% of
its oil and was projected to be
importing 40% by the year 2020. However, today the U.S. is only importing 40%. Salazar credited
this turnaround to two things:
policy and technology. Salazar
acknowledged that policy should
have a bigger role in funding
technology and admonished the
Mines campus to “keep on go-ing.” To close off the conference, Pieter Tans from the NOAA Earth System Research Lab in Boulder
gave a talk about energy policy’s relation to man-made climate
change. Tans is a distinguished
climate scientist and used only simple physics and chemistry in-cluding mass and energy balance to show that climate change is
anthropogenic. He explained the concept of climate forcing, say-ing, “It’s as if the sun has become 1.2% brighter.” Tans likened do-
ing nothing as playing Russian Roulette, but with our children,
and then put forth some things that we can do. These include
ending subsidies, being more
energy efficient, and conserving
more energy, all which have to do
with policy.  Tans also did not agree with the IPCC’s method of commu-nicating climate change, a form
that relies heavily on models,
which opens the door wider for skeptics. He instead proposed
that climate change be commu-nicated better to policymakers—with simple physics and chemis-
try.  Though the poster sessions
and oral presentations had a
technical flavor from a broad spectrum of research areas, the
keynote speeches tied everything
in with policy and the future. The two-day conference was a huge
success, and anyone interested in earth and energy should look
out for CEER to be even bigger and better next year. This week the Humanitarian En-gineering Program along with EWB/ B2P, the Civil and Environmental En-gineering Department and ReNUWIt Research Center brought Jeff Wal-ters from CU Boulder, their first guest Lecture of the semester. Jeff is a PhD
candidate in Civil Systems Engineer-
ing at the University of Colorado and is a Mortenson Fellow in Engineering for Developing Communities (EDC).“Seeing the Forest for the Trees: A System Dynamics Based Methodol-ogy for Sustainable Rural Water Ser-vices in Developing Countries” was the title of this weeks lecture. To be-gin, Mr. Walters started “in the trees.” It may be diffi cult to see any forest when projects are constantly failing;
water projects in rural communities in particular have a low success rate,
“30% fail within 2 to 5 years.” After graduating, Jeff started working with Engineers Without Borders to put his
new engineering skills to the test in
developing countries. Many of his first few projects failed, but knowing this was the nature of projects in rural communities and that “failure is sys-
tematic,” he didn’t let this slow him
down. Jeff and a friend started “Sec-ond Mile Water.” This organization
not only wanted to get people water, it also “goes the second mile” and keeps the water projects going and
sustainable. Jeff left the organization
and decided to go back to school to
get his PhD in this issue. Today there are many groups
and organizations that go to devel-oping countries to install clean water
sources and other infrastructure to help encourage development. After
the groups and organizations put in the systems, the next issue and step to tackle is getting these new sys-tems to be sustainable in the com-
munities. Jeff saw that he had two
options to going about this problem, he could “take the red pill or the blue
pill.” The red pill being a linear ap-
proach, looking at indicators, and
scoring them together. Jeff saw two
big areas related to the red pill he did
not like: first, a linear approach is lin-
ear and second the data collected is
not based on time. As a result Jeff 
took the blue pill or a systems ap-
proach, allowing him to see the “for-est through the trees.” The systems approach is heav-
ily weighted in the use and creation
of models. Jeff is using the System Dynamic Modeling, a type of model
used to describe economics and
implications of complex business pursuits, to try and explain his find-ings. The project was broken into five steps. Step one is the problem statement: inability to plan for and evaluate the systematic influences that affect sustainability of rural water projects; the purpose being to in-
vestigate and model these dynamic
influences. Step two is where things start to heat up and also where Jeff
is in the process, going through hun-
dreds of academic articles relating the project and from this creating a dynamic hypothesis. Next comes step three, model building/simu-lating. To complete this step, Jeff reached out to 40 different experts
on developing countries water proj-ects with a survey, to see what they
think about different areas affecting
developing rural water project as a
whole, so far the experts and Jeff 
have only be able to reach a con-
sensus on five of the sixty questions. From this tremendous amount of data, Jeff will complete steps four and five, creating a code for all of this and drawing references from it.
What it all comes down to is try-
ing to create a model for culture and
how it relates to the sustainability
and success of the implementation of developing country’s water proj-ects. Jeff Walter’s conclusion from
this project could be the key to see-
ing the forest of issues related to
sustainable water projects in devel-
oping countries instead of just each individual problem or tree.
Elizabeth Starbuck
Staff Writer 
Water & culture
Dr Ken Ridgway of Purdue
University and, previously, Chev-ron, spoke on a unique subduc-
tion zone in south-central Alaska. Here, in a situation similar to that at the Ontong Java Trench in the southwestern Pacific, a large oce-
anic plateau is subducting under
the continent. Because the ma- jority of oceanic crust is relatively
thin and dense, it readily slides under continental crust, which is
thicker and more buoyant. When a thick deposit of under-
sea lavas reaches a subduction zone, however, it causes prob-lems, since such volcanic prov-
inces are different from normal oceanic crust. Such a situation is called “flat slab subduction” because of the tendency of the
subducting crust to go under the continent at a much shallower
angle than normal.In southern Alaska, the terrane, or chunk of crust,
containing the thirty-kilome-ter-thick plateau is called the
 Yakutat terrane; it began sub-
ducting about thirty million years ago and is thicker in the
direction of the ocean, such
that it resembles a “door stop”
being wedged under Alaska.  The terrane is close to the sur-face as well, only fifteen kilo-meters deep beneath Mt McKin-ley. A very steep paleotransform fault (a strike-slip fault that was
active in the distant past but not any longer) separates the Yakutat
from the Pacific plate. This part of the state boasts the highest
coastal mountain range in the
world resulting from some ten ki-lometers of sedimentary rock be-ing scraped off of the subducting plateau onto the continent. Mount St. Elias, inland of the shore, rep-resents the edge of the actual continent, or the “backstop” of the subduction zone.  The scraped-off rock is highly faulted, with some 190 km of crustal shortening. Coal beds, representing former deltaic
swamps, serve as the decolle-
ments, or sliding surfaces, for the faults. The presence of these
coals indicates that, when they were deposited, the rock was at
sea level rather than far below it,
with large deltaic systems pump-
ing sediments onto the plateau. In order to determine the source of the deltaic sediments, detrital
zircons and conglomeratic clasts
were examined. The clasts give
rock type and the zircons give
rock age. By comparing the ages of the zircons with plutonic rocks (e.g. granitics) along the Pacific
coast, the path along which the plateau moved can be ascer-
tained. In this case, three plutons
corresponding to the derived zir-
con ages of 58, 91, and 157 mil-lion years old were found to be far
to the south, in the Coast Range
of British Columbia, showing just how far the plateau has moved since that time.
Ridgway next described the
younger rock record. The basalts of the plateau are from the paleo-
cene, but during the eocene the plateau struck land, jamming up the subduction zone and stop-ping basalt extrusion until the
miocene period, many millions of
years later, when pillow basalts
formed along faults in the area.  At this same time, the Pacific
plate abruptly changed its mo-tion, suggesting the plateau’s
collision with North America
had something to do with the
change. Likewise, volcanic erup-
tions in the overriding plate show
a temporary shut-off from about
thirty million years ago, the same
time that the plateau hit. This is a known symptom of flat slab
subduction, as the subducting plate is too thick to allow mantle material and heat to get through
to the surface. Instead, the east-ern side of the subducting slab
caused “slab-edge” volcanism,
with volcanoes forming at the margin in the overriding plate; the
volcanism gets steadily younger to the north, showing the north-
wards migration of the plateau.  These volcanoes are part of the modern-day Wrangell Mountains. The collision of the thick pla-
teau with the continent led to
significant deformation of the continent as well as the slab. This
can be seen in the progressively larger gaps in the rock record as
one proceeds inland, where faults have removed sections of the stratigraphy. In the glacial sedi-ments scraped off of the plateau, which consist of shelfal muds and
turbidites (underwater landslide deposits) with diamictites (a type
of underwater glacial sediment)
and dropstones (rocks that melt-
ed out of icebergs and fell to the seafloor), there are “growth struc-tures”: angular cut-offs between successive layers of sediment
which show continued movement
along a fault as the angle steep-ens. Indeed, this area exhibits an abnormally thick record of deformation of the subducting plate, thanks to the scraped-off rock that makes up so much of the area.  As for the continent, the backstop was uplifted about
twenty to thirty million years ago as the Yakutat plateau
plowed under it, with a fold and thrust belt (a heavily-faulted deformational zone) forming at tip of the uplifted area. In the mio-
cene period, the western margin
of the slab led to subsidence in
the overriding plate, however, rel-
ative to the uplifted zone, just as a
blanket will dip down at the edges
of an object pushed under it; this is the modern-day Cook Inlet. Fi-nally, a band of seismic activity, very diffuse and still active, ex-tends far into the continent where
the slab is going under, showing
how it is still causing deformation today.
Ridgway ended his talk by
pointing out the myriad effects
the unique subduction regime in the area has had on topograph-ic, seismic and volcanic activity,
and petroleum exploration. In-deed, the first Alaskan oil field to
be produced was discovered in
the 1800s on the submarine fan deposits of the Yakutat, and the area is still being produced today.
Hope Sisley
Staff Writer 
Movement of theYakutat
This part of the state boasts the highest coastal mountain range in the world resulting from some ten kilometers of sedimentary rock being scraped off of the subducting plateau onto the continent.

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